Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A NECESSARY END Cover a Finalist in Indie Cover Contest

The cover of A NECESSARY ENDis a finalist in the Indie Cover Awards contest. The link is below. Congratulations to Dawne Dominique, my very talented cover artist!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A NECESSARY END on Goodkindles--Of Course It Has Humor!

A NECESSARY END will shortly be listed on Goodkindles. This site lists many books available on Kindle, for free or for purchase.


The story centers on Booth's insane plot to kill President Lincoln. It is a 'dark' paranormal because a malevolent spirit haunts and torments Booth to assassinate the 'tyrant' as in Julius Caesar. But since I believe every situation, no matter how foreboding, allows for humor, I've added a few lighter scenes that offer the reader some much-needed relief. How can this insane plot of Booth's not leave itself wide open for humor? It was pure comic farce, how he recruited this motley band of adoring disciples and gave them each an assignment in his absurd conspiracy. They were the Five Stooges, or Six, if you include Booth. Don't worry, he gets what's coming to him in the end.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Interview with David Lawlor, the Author of TAN - A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge

Please welcome author David Lawlor, my guest today. David is Associate Editor with the Evening Herald newspaper in Ireland and has been writing features, reviews and working as a production journalist in national newspapers for 22 years.

David has written three novels and is currently working on his fourth. This is the first novel he has published. David lives in Greystones, Ireland, with his wife and four children.
 Following the synopsis below is my interview with David. Please post any questions or comments you may have. Thanks!



‘Peelers have a knack for hitting you where it hurts; broken nose, bruised ribs, a few loosened teeth...no more than a rapist deserved, Sergeant Coveney and District Inspector Webber had said. Proper order, too - except the lad was no rapist, and Webber knew it.’

It’s 1914 and Liam Mannion is forced into exile for a crime he didn’t commit. He flees Balbriggan, the only home he has ever known and travels to England, where he enlists and endures the torment of trench warfare in France. Five years later he’s back in England, a changed man, living in the shadow of his battlefield memories. Liam finds work in a Manchester cotton mill but prejudice and illness soon see him destitute. Starving and desperate, he enlists in a new military force heading to Ireland - the Black and Tans - and is posted to the very town he fled as a youth.

While he has been away Liam’s childhood friends have joined the republican cause, while his brother has allied himself to the Crown forces. Liam must wrestle with his own conflicted feelings about duty to the ruthless Tans and loyalty to his friends. The potent combination of ambition, patriotism and betrayal collide, forcing him to act as he comes face to face with the man who spread lies about him all those years before.

How long have you been writing? How did you get started?

“I’ve been writing for about six years now. I have always been interested in Native Americans and when I came across the story of the Choctaw and how they helped raise money for the Irish Famine in the 1840s, I was hooked. I wanted to tell a story of how that money came to Ireland and that’s how I wrote my first book – a tale spanning two countries and one which was also set in the present. After that book I was on a roll and have since written three more.”

What genre(s) do you write in, and do you have pseudonyms?
“I write historical fiction mainly, but I have written one modern crime story set in Dublin.”

What was your first published work? How did you get that work published?
“Tan: A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge was my first published book. It is set during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. The story deals with the Black and Tans in southern Ireland during our War of Independence, which began in 1919. I have always been interested in this era, mainly because my grandfather was heavily involved in the war and subsequent civil war. Like many people, I wondered how I would have reacted in those testing times. I was also fascinated by the role played by the Tans. They still cast a dark shadow on our history, not least because of the still unacknowledged fact that over 20pc of them were actually Irishmen. I wanted to try to see things from a Tan's perspective and explore the conflicts its Irish members must have felt wearing that uniform.”

What are you working on now?
“I have just finished a sequel to Tan, called The Golden Grave, which I hope to publish very soon. It is set in Flanders in 1920 and involves traumatized ex-soldiers returning to their old battlefield to search for hidden treasure.”

Where do your story ideas come from?
“I write about what interests me and also am inspired by documentaries and news articles.”

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
“I got a few books on the War of Independence. I found a great book called IRA Jailbreaks, which was a great help in one section of the story. I already had a couple of books on World War One. These, combined with internet searches, gave me all I needed. Plus, George Orwell's Down And Out In Paris And London was helpful in scenes I wrote related to vagrancy.”

What was the hardest part of writing Tan?
“The editing, the re-writes and accepting your gut instinct that something wasn't quite working.”

Follow this link to purchase TAN:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What's in a Place Name?

Today on Morgan Mandel's blog Blood Red Pencil, she asked 'what's in a place name?' Here's my story, or two... All my books are set in real places, but one book needed a fictional place. It's a fantasy romance, Fakin' It, and the hero is designing a robot to send to a distant planet. What to name this planet? I searched around for that perfect planet name, and saw that it was right in front of me! I'd bought a rug in Istanbul from a store called Ugur, and the owner's card was taped to my desk. So it became the Planet Ugur, and I made sure to thank Alender, the store's owner, on my website for that inspiration! One more fictional place was 1149 Park Avenue, in my novel set during Prohibition, IT WAS LIKE THIS. I'm a longtime fan of The Honeymooners, starring Jackie Gleason. In one episode, his boss lives at 1149 Park. That was a perfect address for me--there's no 'real' 1149 Park, and it was my tribute to a great show. Follow this link to Blood Red Pencil: http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com

Monday, January 7, 2013

A NECESSARY END Kindle Version Now on Sale

Calling all Lincoln buffs! My ghost romance centering on Booth's insane plot to kill President Lincoln is now on sale for your Kindle at Amazon.

Just follow this link:

Here's the synopsis for those who haven't seen it:

Washington D.C., November 1864 - Well known actor and Confederate agent John Wilkes Booth hears of Abraham Lincoln=s re-election. Booth can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch his beloved Confederacy crumble; he must take action.
Booth travels to Confederate Spy Headquarters in Montreal to propose a plot: abduct the President and offer him to the Confederate government in Richmond in exchange for captured Confederate soldiers. His Confederate agents concur that this action is a legitimate act of war, and agree to finance Booth=s scheme.
He truly believes Lincoln is a tyrant because he acted without the approval of Congress. To him, Lincoln is the cause of all the South=s woes: usurper, violator of laws, biding his time to be crowned king of America. To capture him is an honorable deed, and by doing so, he fulfills another wishBto be a hero.  
In order to gain knowledge of Lincoln=s comings and goings, Booth visits the Lincolns= spiritualist, Nettie Colburn Maynard, ostensibly for a séance. But what Nettie reveals while entranced unnerves him, especially when an ancient coin drops, seemingly from nowhere, and lands on the table in front of Booth. A spirit, speaking through Nettie, tells Booth in an inhuman  growl that this coin is >dreadful payment for a dreadful deed.= Booth believes this >dreadful deed= is the capture of Lincoln, a deed he must commit in order to save the Confederacy. Dismissing the reading as well-staged claptrap, Booth discounts the eerie surroundings and Nettie=s behavior as histrionics, drops the coin into his pocket, and heads to his favorite saloon to recruit for his plot.
After some unsettling events involving the mysterious coin, Booth takes it to a dealer, his old friend Norman Fine, who informs him that the face on the coin is that of Julius Caesar and offers Booth three hundred dollars for the relic. Booth hesitates a moment, then agrees to sell it, to finally get it out of his life.
Later, Booth reads in the evening paper that Fine was murdered in his locked store. Still reeling from the shock of that news, Booth glances at his nightstand to see the coin staring right up at him, blood-smeared and dripping. Before his eyes the coin soaks up the blood like a thirsty vampire and becomes brighter. Booth now realizes the bloodier things get, the newer and shinier the coin looks.
In the days that follow, Booth encounters more frequent disturbing experiences: possessions disappear,  eerie noises in his hotel suite interrupt his sleep, shadowy figures appear and dissolve into vapor. His recounting of these experiences so frightens his fiancée, Lucy Hale, that she runs to her father, Senator John Hale, who demands she end the engagement. Senator Hale does not like Booth, and prefers to have him out of Lucy=s life. But Hale wants to be seen as a hero, so he hires a spy to follow Booth and report his activities. Hale is already aware that Booth is a Confederate agent and blockade runner, and is up to no good.
Hale solicits the services of the beautiful actress Alice Grey to spy on Booth. Alice, intrigued at the opportunity to get close to the enchanting Booth, takes Hale up on his offer. As a loyal Northerner, she feels she=s working for a good cause.
Alice arranges an initial meeting with Booth, ostensibly to set up a theater company. Their undeniable chemistry makes it very easy for Alice to become a significant part of his life. She moves into his hotel suite and, on her first >mission=, follows Booth to 541 H Street. 
The owner of 541 H Street is Mary Surratt, a widow who rents out rooms. One of her tenants is Sarah Slater, a Confederate dispatch carrier, and another is Louis Weichmann, a Southern sympathizer with no particular loyalty to anyone. Mary=s son, John, is a Confederate courier. Booth makes an impromptu visit to Mrs. Surratt to introduce himself and to tell her about his cause. He has already recruited her son John. Mrs. Surratt, a staunch Southern patriot, is eager to help Booth. She is certainly no stranger to clandestine activities, having once run the post office at her tavern in Maryland, which she used as a safe house for Confederate soldiers.
Booth recruits two childhood friends, Thomas O=Laughlin and Sam Arnold, as well as three other men, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and Lewis Powell. Next, he calls upon a doctor friend in New York, Francis Tumblety, who has helped Booth smuggle medicines over the lines  to Confederate hospitals. Tumblety, enamored of Booth, drops everything to rush to Washington. He takes a room at Mrs. Surratt=s, and he and his landlady develop a close friendship.
Booth=s inner need that drives him to commit his crimes comes out of what his first biographer described as a >morbid thirst for notoriety.= Others see his feelings of inadequacy in competition with his father and older brothers, all famous Shakespearian actors. As a child, he was described as >devoid of values= being spoiled by his parents and siblings, and growing up with virtually no discipline.
Not one, but as many as five attempts to capture Lincoln fail, thanks to Alice, whom Senator Hale praises as an able spy after all. But Alice feels torn by her role when she realizes she=s falling in love with Booth, despite their obvious conflict of serving on opposite sides. Regardless of their differences, Booth remains devoted to her. Alice finally decides she can no longer spy on the man she loves. She pours her heart out to Hale, who urges her to continue monitoring Booth=s activities on the premise that she would not want to see Booth convicted and hanged if he=s caught. Alice agrees to stop Booth rather than see him condemned.
Booth is by now continuously haunted by terrifying events. The noises and visions drive him to the brink of exhaustion and insanity. He no longer sees Nettie Maynard to gain information about Lincoln; he actively seeks her help for himself. He can=t get rid of the bloodthirsty coin; it turns up every time he flings it into the street or throws it away. Booth implores Nettie to find out whose spirit is haunting him. After every failed attempt to capture Lincoln, the spirit mocks him, making Booth feel even more of a failure.
Booth has a recurring dream in which he=s in another time and place where he witnesses the murder of a high official. In the third dream, it=s he who thrusts the dagger into the murder victim, whom he now realizes is Julius Caesar. But as he looks down on the bloodied corpse, the  face becomes that of Abraham Lincoln. Booth begins to realize he was Brutus in a previous life, and Cassius is prodding him from beyond the grave to slay another tyrant, Lincoln.
Robert E. Lee surrenders his army at Appomattox, effectively ending the Civil War. Devastated, Booth, knowing he must take drastic measures in a last ditch effort to save the South,  meets with his cohorts at the Surratt house. Mrs. Surratt masterminds a plan to assassinate Lincoln when he attends a play at Ford=s Theater on April 14. Driven to the edge of sanity by the spirit who torments him, Booth agrees to the plot. He now knows the spirit is Cassius, who urged Brutus to slay the tyrant Caesar and that his fate is inescapable. He now sees that his entire plot has paralleled Shakespeare=s tragedy, Julius Caesar: a play he has acted in many times. He knows the script by heart.
Alice, knowing Booth is part of something sinister, goes to the Surratt house hoping to unearth information. She speaks to Weichmann, who, for a price, tells her that Booth and his cohorts plan to kill Lincoln at the theater later that night. It is already nine-thirty. Can she warn the President in time?
Alice arrives at Ford=s Theater just as Booth is exiting the saloon next door. She confronts him, and points the gun which he=d given her at his heart. He challenges her to go ahead and kill him. While agonizing over the decision whether to save him or the President, a powerful unseen force strikes her unconscious and hurls her into the street. She awakens in her carriage to witness a horrible sightBmen carrying the mortally wounded President into a house across the street.
Devastated, she returns to the hotel to wait for Booth, hoping he=ll come back to her.
Booth flees into the wilds of Virginia with his cohort, Davy Herold. Ten days later, he=s surrounded by Federal soldiers in a tobacco barn. The soldiers set the barn on fire in an attempt to smoke Booth and Herold out.
The flames do the trick, and Herold emerges from the barn, surrenders and is tied to a tree. One of the captors, Sergeant Boston Corbett, peers into the shed and sees two figures identical in looks to Booth. He shoots as both figures vanish into the engulfing flames.
That very night after Alice falls asleep, Booth comes to her in the night, makes love to her and leaves before dawn.
Despairing of ever seeing him again, Alice is shocked to read that Booth has been shot and his body is being brought back to Washington for a traitor=s burial. Distraught and sick with grief, she is preparing to disguise herself and make an appearance at Booth=s funeral when she discovers she is pregnant.
Alice talks to Nettie Maynard, who reveals Booth=s episodes with the spirit of Cassius. Now Alice has a question no one can ever answer: Did Booth come to her in the night and make love to her, or was it his ghost?
Epilogue: 1962, New Orleans: A young ex-marine seeking to resolve his personal conflicts visits a notorious Voodoo priestess. An ancient coin appears from nowhere and falls on the table in front of a stunned Lee Harvey Oswald. The wheels of fate turn again.
John Wilkes Booth was fanatically devoted to causes important to him, such as his expert shooting, riding and fencing, being his mother's favorite son, his relentless pursuit of women, and the destruction of Lincoln and his regime. Unafraid to die for the South, he believed what he did was right, to save his homeland. Revenge was not on his agenda. He believed the foundation of the Union was justice and equal rights as our Founding Fathers planned it. The South had been wronged and preyed upon. He wanted to be the one to right it.
Booth=s core issue being justice, he learns in the end that to receive justice, one must be just. Since Booth=s story parallels the play Julius Caesar, which raises questions about the force of fate versus free will, Booth also learns that he can=t escape his fate, and he=s destined to live and die the life that=s given him. Like Brutus, who slew a tyrant, but nobly accepted his fate, Booth in the end accepts his fate.
Alice also learns this, as her life continues without Booth. Had she killed him that night, he never could come back to her, but now there=s still some hope. The force that held her back was meant to; it saved her from killing him. She refuses to believe the body they dragged out of the barn was his, and trusts he will come back to her someday; they=re destined to be together.
 But when she hears of his plan to kill Lincoln, she must sacrifice her happiness for the future of the nation. Her goal, like Booth=s, is also justice. But until the last second, she feels torn. She still waits for him to return to her, and never stops loving him.